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On the death of her mother, the vivacious Clio Dulaine returns from Paris to her childhood home in New Orleans to seek revenge for the humiliation her mother suffered there from her father's wife's family. She also plans to marry a rich man to attain the status and respectability her mother never had, but falls for Texas gambler Clint Maroon instead. When he leaves New Orleans for the horse racing season at Saratoga Springs, she follows him there to seek her fortune - or someone else's. Written by
Joyce Bradsher <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"Saratoga Trunk" is a 1945 film starring Ingrid Bergman and Gary Cooper. It's based on a 1941 book by the great Edna Ferber. Subconsciously she may have had Gone with the Wind on the brain; parts of the story reminded me of GWTW.
Set in the 1890s, Clio Dulaine is an illegitimate child who returns from New Orleans from France with a mulatto servant (Flora Robson) and a dwarf servant, Cupidon (Jerry Austin). She has given herself a Countess title and claims to be a widow. Her mother killed her father by accident, and his family shunned her. Clio takes over the old homestead with the idea of embarrassing her half-sister and the wife of her father, which she does by calling great attention to herself. Her plan is to marry someone very wealthy who can give her the security and respectability she craves. Then she spots Clint Maroon (Cooper), a Texas gambler, and falls for him. The two have a volatile relationship
and he doesn't have any money, so she can't marry him - so he leaves
for Saratoga Springs. Eventually the Dulaine family has enough, and their attorney gives her $10,000 to get out of town. She does. She goes to Saratoga Springs and goes after the owner of the railroad, Bart von Steed. But Clint is always around.
Bergman is beautiful in dark hair and wearing the period costumes, and Cooper is drop-dead gorgeous with that incredible 300-watt smile of his. How she could resist him is beyond me. And the love scenes - whoa, what chemistry! The supporting cast is excellent, Robson and Cupidon creating interesting characters, and Florence Bates giving an excellent performance as a socially prominent woman who takes Clio under her wing, knowing she's a big fake.
The film runs a little long, and some of the acting may seem old-fashioned today, but it's an absorbing story filled with atmosphere and vivid performances. The ending won't come as any surprise. It's a fun journey, though.
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